June 20, 2003
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson warned on Monday of the potential for another outbreak of the deadly mosquito-borne West Nile virus in the United States this summer because of the wet spring weather.
Appearing on CNN, Thompson said that funds were being provided to state and local agencies to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds, which he said was the best way to prevent the spread of the West Nile virus.
He also urged people to take steps to guard against mosquito bites by encouraging the use of insect repellent and wearing long sleeve shirts when adventuring into mosquito-prone areas.
U.S. health officials reported last week that the virus had resurfaced in two dozen states. Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented 4,156 cases of West Nile in the United States. The outbreak was the largest since the virus first appeared in the Western Hemisphere in 1999.